Jurors at trial in Daunte Wright slaying go underneath microscope
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — When attorneys sift by potential jurors for the trial of a suburban Minneapolis police officer who says she meant to make use of her Taser as a substitute of her gun when she killed Daunte Wright, they’ll take a tough take a look at their attitudes towards policing, protests, and the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter actions.
Jury choice begins Tuesday in former Brooklyn Heart Officer Kim Potter’s manslaughter trial.
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The pool has already responded to questionnaires much like these used this yr in Derek Chauvin’s homicide trial for thekilling of George Floyd.
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Roughly 200 potential jurors had been requested to supply in depth data on what they already know concerning the Potter case and whether or not they have constructive or detrimental impressions about her and Wright.
Potter shot Wright as he tried to drive away from a site visitors cease on April 11 — a time when Chauvin’s trial was happening and tensions had been already excessive within the Minneapolis-St. Paul space. Wright’s loss of life sparked a number of nights of protests in Brooklyn Heart, which revived painful recollections of the generally violent unrest that erupted after Floyd’s loss of life in Could 2020.
Potential jurors had been requested whether or not they or anybody near them participated “in any of the demonstrations or marches associated to policing that occurred within the Twin Cities space within the final two years.” In the event that they participated, they had been requested whether or not they carried an indication and what it stated. They had been requested in the event that they or anybody they know had been injured or suffered property harm in any of these protests.
They had been additionally requested to elucidate whether or not they felt that the group had been “positively or negatively affected by any of the demonstrations.” They usually had been requested to element whether or not they or anybody near them “ever helped assist or advocated in favor of or towards police reform.” There was additionally a query on whether or not they assist defunding the police.
Lots of the questions had been an identical at Chauvin’s trial, the place jury choice took 11 days. Hennepin County Decide Regina Chu’s timeline for Potter’s trial consists of six days for jury choice, with opening statements set for Dec. 8.
Potter’s protection group can dismiss as much as 5 jurors with out giving a motive, in contrast with three for the prosecution, which is normal in Minnesota courts. In Chauvin’s case, the place the pretrial publicity was rather more intense, the protection was allowed 15 strikes versus 9 for prosecutors. Neither aspect must justify utilizing a so-called peremptory strike except the opposite aspect argues it was due to a juror’s race, ethnicity or gender.
Potter says she made an harmless mistake when she shot Wright throughout a site visitors cease. She and two different officers on the scene, together with one she was coaching, moved to arrest Wright after studying there was an arrest warrant out for him on a gross misdemeanor cost.
Because the 20-year-old Black man tried to drive off, Potter, who’s white, could be heard on her physique digicam video saying “Taser, Taser Taser” earlier than she fired, adopted by “I grabbed the incorrect (expletive) gun.” The video exhibits her holding her handgun for about 5 seconds earlier than firing.
Prosecutors charged Potter, who resigned two days after the capturing, with first- and second-degree manslaughter, saying she was an skilled officer who was skilled to know higher. Essentially the most critical cost requires prosecutors to show recklessness; the lesser solely requires them to show culpable negligence. Minnesota’s sentencing pointers name for a sentence of simply over seven years on the first-degree manslaughter depend, and 4 years for second-degree. However prosecutors have stated they’ll search an extended sentence.
Attorneys who aren’t concerned within the case count on each side to provide jurors an intensive vetting, as they did in Chauvin’s trial. The pool will come from Hennepin County, which incorporates Minneapolis and is the state’s most populous county. Hennepin is 74% white, 14% Black, 7.5% Asian and seven% Latino, in line with census knowledge. Brooklyn Heart, the suburb the place Wright was killed, is among the most various communities within the state, at 46% white, 29% Black, 16% Asian and 15% Latino.
Oakland, California, civil rights lawyer John Burris, who received a $2.8 million settlement for the household of a person killed by a transit officer in Oakland who went to jail for grabbing his gun as a substitute of a Taser in 2009, stated jurors usually give police the advantage of the doubt. However he stated occasions have modified since Floyd was killed. If the jury chosen for Potter is as various as Chauvin’s jury, which was half folks of colour, he predicted that they will take a considerate method.
Mike Brandt, an area lawyer who additionally is not concerned within the case, stated that if he was on the protection group, he’d reasonably have the case tried in a rural or suburban county. He stated Hennepin tends to be “extra on the liberal aspect,” with extra individuals who assist holding police accountable.
Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative reporter Mohamed Ibrahim contributed to this story.
Discover the AP’s full protection of the Daunte Wright case at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright